SINGAPORE — A woman who pointed a knife at her violent husband was fined $1,800 on Wednesday (30 December) after the man got hurt during their scuffle.
Lim Zihong, 24, had been abused by her husband of three years, Nova Boon Paulase, 27, including when she was four months pregnant, Lim’s lawyer, Steven Lam, told the court.
Paulase had even filed a false police report accusing Lim of theft, causing the latter to be charged in court. He has since been convicted of filing a false police report.
“At the end of the day even though the husband is the victim in this charge, the true victim here is in fact my client. My client was actually subjected to a lot of abuse, a lot of false allegations and she has been brought through this entire process for about a year,” he added.
Lim had tried to protect herself with the knife after Paulase was again violent towards her, Lam told the court. Paulase ended up with lacerations on the back of his neck, ear, face, and limbs.
Lim pleaded guilty to one count of using threatening behaviour against Paulase with the intent of causing him alarm, by pointing the knife at him.
The incident occurred on 23 November last year, when Lim was trying to fall asleep in the master bedroom. Paulase reached home and switched on the lights, causing the two to argue.
Lim walked to the kitchen, picked up a knife and pointed it at Paulase, intending to cause him alarm, according to the prosecution.
Alarmed, Paulase tried to remove the knife from his wife and sustained cuts and lacerations on his body in the struggle. He later cleaned up his blood on the kitchen floor before wrapping a T-shirt around his head to stem the bleeding. He then fell asleep on his bed.
Lim later contacted one of Paulase’s friends to inform him of the situation and tell him to bring Paulase to the hospital. Two of the Paulase’s friends then went to the flat and brought him to the hospital, while another made a police report.
Setting out the couple’s relationship in court documents, Lam said that Lim married Paulase when she was 21 and has a two-year-old daughter with him.
She worked throughout her pregnancy as a telemarketer at a bank to support the family. When she was four months pregnant, Paulase choked her and kicked her in the stomach.
“Having been a victim of (his) use of violence, and his tendency to resort to the use of violence, (Lim) has experienced strong feelings of fear towards (Paulase),” said Lam.
She took anxiety pills to cope with her situation. On 23 November last year, Paulase entered the bedroom in the wee hours of the morning after a night of drinking with his friends and used his shirt to hit Lim repeatedly as she lay on the bed.
“Having been rudely awakened and attacked by (Paulase), (Lim) slapped him and left the bedroom as she did not wish to get into an argument with him,” said Lam.
Paulase continued to taunt his wife, pushing her and causing her to hit her head against the wall.
Fearing for her safety, the woman grabbed a knife from the kitchen and pointed it at Paulase, who then tried to wrest the knife from her.
Even after this incident, Paulase continued to abuse Lim, breaching the Expedited Order, Personal Protection Orders and a Domestic Exclusion Order taken against him. On 9 January this year, Paulase injured himself with a knife and framed Lim for the incident. He falsely accused her of stealing his credit card.
Lim had initially been charged with voluntarily causing hurt with a weapon, before her charge was reduced.
The couple signed divorce papers last week. They no longer live together and Lim is the main caregiver for their daughter.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Audrey Choo said that the prosecution understood Lim’s situation and was “fully sympathetic”, while noting that her former husband had been convicted of various offences.
The DPP said she did not see the need for a jail term given that the the couple were separated, adding that it was agreeable to the defence’s suggested penalty.
In sentencing Lim, District Judge Ronald Gwee noted that Lim she used a knife and said, “ (Lim’s) actions could be said to be on the defensive side, although that said, it obviously is going beyond what might have been appropriate in the circumstances”.
For causing alarm, Lim could have been jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $5,000.
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